Title: Tango in the Night
Author: K.C. Kendricks
Publisher: White Deer Books
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: M/M contemporary romance
Length: Novella (37K words)
Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5
A guest review by Leslie
Law enforcement agent Jubal Graham is back on the job after a shooter took the life of his long-time partner, and sent Jubal into a coma followed by months of rehab. Determined to have justice, Jubal is focused on finding a killer, not a new romantic entanglement. Agent Ellis Banks, however, with his smoldering blue eyes and denim-clad swagger, is a distraction Jubal can’t afford—or ignore.
Ellis came to Philadelphia to bust a drug operation; one that connects to the same case agency legend Jubal Graham is working. Ellis finds himself drawn to Jubal, but Jubal holds him off. Sure that Jubal is interested, even though he wears his slain lover’s ring, Ellis mounts a determined siege.
Jubal’s surprise at having a suitor develops into a growing affection for Ellis, one clouded with old fears. Fate ripped one lover from his arms, and now Ellis is in the line of fire. Jubal’s courage can protect Ellis, but is it powerful enough to love him?
This is another in the series of novellas from Amber Allure that are named after popular songs—even though the song has nothing to do with the story. Just so everyone is clear on that.
As noted in the blurb, this story concerns Jubal Graham and Ellis Banks. Told from Jubal’s first person POV, he has just arrived home in Philadelphia after ten months of recuperation and rehab from a shooting that killed his lover Cliff and almost killed him. He returns to the restored brownstone that he and Cliff shared, wondering how he is going to put his life back on track since he can’t go back to the old life that he cherished.
Within the first few pages, I thought this was going to be a very angsty reflection on sorting through closets and missing his lover, but it didn’t go in that direction. Jubal actually seems to have gotten his head pretty straight during his convalescence and is ready to move forward. Yes, he mourns his lover but he is ready to move ahead.
Moving ahead ends up happening faster than he ever expected when he arrives back at his office for his first day of work. There’s a new agent on the job, Ellis Banks, and Jubal feels an immediate, somewhat visceral attraction to the man. He is ready to deny it until he goes out in the evening to a local gay club and sees Ellis there. Okay, so now he knows they’re both gay. But is it wise to get involved with a fellow agent? On top of that, Cliff’s murderer is still at large. Jubal and his boss have a theory on who the killer is, but they need a trap to catch him—a trap that may put everyone, including Ellis, in danger.
Given that this is a short novel, there isn’t a lot of space for a terribly complicated plot, especially when much of it is given over to the developing insta-love between Ellis and Jubal. Still, there were enough twists and turns to keep it interesting with the added bonus of a little bit of good guys and bad guys excitement near the end.
One thing that bothered me about the book: bits and pieces of information were revealed late in the story which, if presented earlier, might have made the story clearer. At times I felt like I was reading a sequel, but looking at the author’s website, I don’t see any other books with the characters of Jubal and Ellis, so I am assuming this is a standalone. Still, I had the slightly unsettled feeling of being plunked in the story and being expected to know stuff which I did not know which was a little confusing. It is mostly a minor irritation but I thought it was worth mentioning.
This is the first book I have read by author K.C. Kendricks and I enjoyed it enough that I would be open to reading some of her other works. Overall, it’s a good cop story with a nice romance between two attractive men and a fair amount of smexxin. If you don’t like insta-love you might want to stay away because the love is really insta in this. But if that is not an issue for you, I can recommend this as an entertaining, fast read.